Todd Bridges: 'I Was A Pimp In A Lot Of Ways'
Former Diff'rent Strokes star Todd Bridges hired an army of prostitutes to deal drugs for him during his 1980s heyday as a dealer - so he could get paid twice, for cocaine and sex.
The ex-child star became a drug user towards the end of the hit show's run in the mid-1980s and a gun-wielding narcotics boss on the mean streets of Los Angeles, dealing speed, crack, cocaine and marijuana when the sitcom wrapped in 1986. Both respected and feared, the actor surrounded himself with women, so he could get the most out of clients.
He explains, "They would sell drugs to johns (clients) and also have sex with johns, so I got paid in a double way... I was a pimp in a lot of ways."
He hit a new low when he became hooked on methamphetamine after having an orgasm the first time he tried the hard drug. Bridges, who was still trying to escape memories of being molested at 11, says, "I thought that that was the drug that would take me through everything else because it really covered up everything that I was feeling... I was numb to society; I was numb to life... I felt that's what I deserve... that's who I am."
In a candid interview with Oprah Winfrey, which aired on her talk show on Wednesday, the actor revealed he once stayed awake for 14 days straight when he was high on methamphetamine. He eventually suffered psychosis and seizures.
He recalls, "I started seeing these little green men that came up and I thought that my grandmother had put these inside my house... and they were running around and I was chasing at them and I was shooting at them... I was crazy at that point."
Bridges broke down in tears as his mother, who was in the studio audience, sobbed as she recalled how she prayed to God and said, "If you wanna take him, take him; I don't wanna see him like that... I said, 'I'm giving him back to you.'"